We've been asked a few times why our goal is so high. Well, wonder no more, for a complete explanation can be found near the bottom of the page!
Bonus rewards - Check 'em out! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/graviatactics/gravia-tactics/posts/935986
We're two friends who are absolutely crazy about games, especially ones with deep narratives and tight gameplay mechanics. We cut our development teeth on a critically acclaimed hack 'n' slash RPG for Xbox LIVE Indie Games called Brimstone and are now working extra hard to bring you an unforgettable Tactical RPG for the PC!
Tell Me More!
Well, Steve Lillis is our ever enthusiastic coder and project manager. He's been programming and managing projects for the past ten years, works as a web developer by day and builds Gravia by night. He used his limited savings to start up our little studio, Punchbag Entertainment, and runs entirely on coder-fuel (2 parts praise, 1 part caffeine).
Jun Chu is our resident artist and creative visionary. He conjures the game world, its inhabitants and their epic struggle from the aether while everybody else is sleeping! Jun is sometimes aided by his wife, Becky, who fends off Jun's work-induced insanity by helping colour Gravia's hundreds of individual animation frames.
We'd also like to add a very special thank you to Casey Mongillo for being the voices of Klay and Mariko in the introductory video!
It's our mission to make a game that you won't forget.
We know that players don't want their time to be wasted on meaningless in-game errands. We know what feels right in a user interface. We know the difference between impossible and challenging gameplay. We know the importance of choice to a player. We know the thrill of winning a battle through superior strategy. We know what it feels like to be blown away by a game and to have to tell all your friends about it!
We know all of this because, like you, we've been playing videogames for years.
That's why we're creating Gravia Tactics. It's the game that we've always wanted to play; a gritty, story-driven Tactical RPG on the PC with rewarding battle mechanics, unforgettable characters and a story arc that will take them (and you) through hell and back as you journey through all manner of hardship and hope.
Gravia Tactics is a mature, narrative driven Tactical Role-Playing Game for the PC that focuses on small party mechanics, aiming for depth over breadth of gameplay.
Customisable gear, environmental buffs/debuffs, position-changing abilities and chainable effects are just a few of the gameplay mechanics that put the power to defeat otherwise unbeatable foes in your hands.
For the player who enjoys an additional challenge, Bonus Goals in every battle - such as defeating your enemies in a specific order or ensuring that an NPC remains unharmed - offer unique rewards in the form of rare items and additional XP.
And that's just the battles! There's also a Legend System in the works where you'll piece together tidbits of information from around Gravia, tracking down powerful, ancient treasures and the behemoths that guard them!
All of this is wrapped in a powerful narrative that follows a painful yet heroic journey of a few good souls in a world pushed to its limit, where they'll face darkness they didn't know existed... including their own.
Gravia is a world groaning from centuries of heavy industrialisation, blighted with pollution and ravaging toxic storms. There is only one thing that matters most to its denizens - Sludge. A natural deposit haphazardly harvested and greedily consumed to drive the gears of human industry. As this abominable commodity looks to be replaced with the purity of magic, unrest stirs and black-hearted souls are on the warpath to ensure that their throttling grip isn't loosened…
We want to tell you so much about Gravia's moments of hope, villainous characters and dark turns but we can't without spoiling it for you!
Instead we'll just say that not everybody is who they say they are, not everything ends neatly like it does in the storybooks and even the most resolute of spirits can be broken by the kind of extreme adversity that comes from taking on a world full of corruption.
You'll follow our motley band of unlikely heroes on their journey from naivety to heroism in a story arc that investigates their pasts and forces them to face their destiny, no matter how brutal it may be. We're not just weaving a tale of good versus evil, we're weaving one of hope versus truth, of youthful naivety versus harsh realities and of tenacity versus trauma.
Klay Azurite is a lowly furnace boy at the Erskyne Forgeworks. His days are dirty, long and gruelling, tirelessly toiling to keep the fires of the forge burning and performing only the most tedious and petty of metalwork. But being on the bottom rung of the ladder doesn’t keep this guy down; he is an optimism freak, ever hopeful and ambitious, he gets to work with gusto and always sees the bright side even in the most challenging of situations- to the point of delusion!
Mariko Gearhart is Erskyne town’s rising young inventor-mechanic. She is in her late teens and has inherited the town machine shop alongside her brother after their father passed away some years before. Having grown up in the shop and been taught the trade by her father while he was alive, she has a natural affinity with all things with an engine- which unfortunately can’t be said of her brother- Riggs; he likes to smash things instead!
Oryan Polaris has few friends outside of the workers’ bars in Erskyne, and quite rightly so; he is a prickly individual who possesses a general mistrust of others, he carries an aura of gloom about him and is infamous for his mysterious background and negative disposition; the glass is always half empty in his eyes.
Dillon Zephyr is a young, vagrant boy who has taken refuge in the Scraphills after becoming stranded from his family. In spite of his initial hostility towards them, the party take the brat under their wing and shortly take to calling him “Spud”, a moniker poor Dillon does not take kindly to but is forced to live with as the party very quickly forgets his real name!
Riggs Gearhart, brother to Mariko, he lacks the engineering skills of his sister. However, he is an excellent salvage breaker and has a natural talent of identifying the weak point in any structure. This, alongside his trusty mechanical gloves means he can tear down most anything with ease. He is a self professed pacifist, though it has been observed many times that once his words fail, his fists are sure to come!
Riggs seldom gets along with Klay and they bicker regularly, especially when it it comes to Klay inadvertently putting Mariko in troublesome situations!
Mallows run rife in Gravia, consuming copious amounts of Sludgeweed and often making a nuisance of themselves! They are generally innocuous, however they are more than capable of handling themselves in a scuffle!
Bots are one of the main types of enemy you will encounter in Gravia, whether they be man operable ones, utilised for battle or rogue worker-automata abandoned long ago to rust in the toxic wilderness.Used virtually all over and in every industry in the days of old, you will find an eclectic mix of bots that vary wildly in size and shape, from relatively harmless and diminutive utility models to weaponised giants. Though bot use is now in the decline due to a lack of resources needed to maintain them, you will still see some slogging away in major factories and in military caches.
Rogue bots present one of the many hazards for travelers, they roam the lands searching for motor-sustaining fuel and their burnt out logic boards lead to erratic and aggressive behaviour.
Dust Eaters are a roving band of bandit-misfits, pillaging villages to survive and traveling in an ecclectic mix of motorised vehicles. They are a constant and real threat to those that dare venture out into the wastes.
Monsters are everywhere. Only the hardiest of creatures can survive in Gravia and most of these are extremely dangerous! It doesn’t help that over the many years, the flora and fauna have been affected by the mutagenic influence of sludge. Giving rise to a whole host of sickly and ferocious abominations.
Skarlett is a cruel and calculating woman who forever seeks yet more riches and power. Her motives are unclear but what's for certain is that she is very bad news to all that cross her path. She heads a shady organisation- The Blackhands, a company of agents, mercenaries and unethical researchers. They have a monopoly on Gravia's supply of sludge and with this, the ability to cripple nations.
…And many more! We’d love to tell you about all the cool characters (playable, friendly and not so friendly) that you’ll meet, but we don’t want to spoil the plot!
As you probably expected from a Tactical RPG; at the core of the Gravia Tactics experience is turn-based, grid-based battles!
We've spent considerable time shaping gameplay mechanics that will let a cunning player overcome the odds through careful strategy. Flexibility of use is a key principle in our gameplay design - we make absolutely sure that a mechanic can be used in multiple and sometimes unorthodox ways before we implement it.
You'll feel the synergy of these gameplay mechanics in full force as you configure and tweak your party's statistics, abilities, ability triggers, gear, ModiGear, items, elemental types, damage types, resistances and so much more and that's just between the battles! In battle you'll be carefully manoeuvring your party, manipulating your enemies' positions, their element types, damage types and so forth to maximise your battlefield advantage and minimise theirs!
The artificial intelligence that controls your enemies has been built from the ground up to understand the value of these mechanics under different contexts too, though. We're already seeing scenarios where the enemies capitalise on the synergy of their abilities in unexpected and powerful ways, making them quite the exciting challenge to overcome!
And when it comes to exciting gameplay lets not forget that there'll also be quite a few Big Bosses for you to fight!
With each of these mammoth foes utilising the game's mechanics in their own way there's no one-strategy-fits-all and you'll need to adjust your party formation and tactics on the fly if you want to beat down these monstrosities. When you succeed, the rewards are worth the effort. To the victor, the spoils!
Gravia Tactics isn't just about smashing rogue bots to pieces and thwarting evil in battle scenes. There's also a vibrant and fascinating world to explore!
As you take our band of adventurers across the gorgeous, hand-painted landscapes of Gravia you'll experience an unforgettable cast of characters and compelling plot through conversations, quests and fully voiced, fully animated, anime cutscenes!
There's a lot of hid-away places in Gravia, too. The true explorer will find themselves rewarded for their efforts when they uncover hidden locations, treasures, bosses and even additional plot segments!
Exploring Gravia, finding secrets and defeating enemies earns your party experience. When enough experience is earned, characters gain levels. This is when you start shaping the party to your play-style!
Each party member has a progression tree that looks something like this:
Since every party member starts at level 1, they already have access to the first ability. When you gain enough experience to go up a level, you have a choice to make as to the route to take through the character's progression tree.
In the above example at level 2, you might have to choose between a Strength increase or a HP increase. If you take strength, the character will deal more damage, but if you take HP, she'll be able to take more damage before becoming incapacitated. Sometimes the choice is between two abilities - and since you can't follow both routes - you'll have to make a decision about which abilities the character should have in order to be most useful to your party.
Gear and Gear Progression
As you play through Gravia Tactics you'll find lots of gear items (pieces of equipment) for your party to use.
Gear usually has a level or statistic requirement - or is only usable by a specific character - and your character will need to meet these requirements to be able to equip the item.
Higher level gear items come with unlockable abilities and progression trees of their own. The trees are similar to the character progression trees but shorter. A gear item gains experience all the time it is equipped by a character in your party.
When the gear gains enough experience to level up, you can unlock an ability from its tree. Some of these abilities are gear specific, meaning that the character only has that ability while the gear item is equipped. Other gear abilities can be learned! Once you've unlocked the ability for a character, that character has it forever, regardless of whether the item is still equipped!
The customisation options don't stop at gear and levelling up!
Some gear items have slots for what the people of Gravia call ModiGear. ModiGear items are items that can't be equipped on their own, but can be fitted into slots on a character's gear items in order to provide character statistic 'trades'.
We say 'trades' because most ModiGear lowers one or more of a character's statistics to provide a boost to another statistic on that character.
For example, you might have a ModiGear item that gives -26 HP and +22 SP. Since you always hide Spud behind the rest of the party and he could use the extra Skill Points for casting spells, you apply the ModiGear item to one of his weapon's empty ModiGear slots, lowering his Health Points but increase his Skill Points.
ModiGear can be swapped around any time the party isn't engaged in a battle, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to perfect your party's composition!
Bot-Builder (stretch goal)
If the Bot-Builder stretch goal is reached, you'll be able to collect parts from your defeated enemies and around Gravia then go to Mariko's workshop and create yourself an additional party member!
With a wide array of parts available, you'll be able to construct the perfect party member to fill the niche for your play-style. Have you geared the rest of the party for damage dealing? Build a healer or booster bot! How about a party full of damage takers? Build a killing machine to hide behind them and deal out the punishment.
With so many layers of battle mechanics, we're certain you'll invent bots to fill roles we didn't even think of!
You might be thinking, "Woah, that's a large slice of the pie!" and you're right, it is, but it's not just for Jun and me to work on Gravia full time. We will also be taking on one or two additional animators during the year to produce the animated cut-scenes and to assist in the production of the game's core content to ensure that we deliver on time.
£70,000.00 split between 4 people over the course of a year and a bit is an average salary of just £17,500.00 per person per annum, which isn't as glamorous as the lump sum might first seem.
Value Added Tax is a legal obligation in the UK. We are required to pay the government 20% of all money received for goods or services provided to customers within the EU. We know that a large portion of our backers will be outside of the EU and therefore be zero-rated for VAT (and subject to typically lower rates of local tax instead), but we can't safely predict how many people in advance.
We budgeted for the worst case scenario and any funds allocated to VAT but not spent on VAT will be put into the safety buffer.
Music/Sound Effects (£5,000.00)
There's not too much explanation required for this one. We researched the costs involved in sourcing the music for Gravia Tactics and allocated a sensible portion of the budget towards it.
Voice Actors (£5,000.00)
Similarly to Music/Sound Effects, our research led us to this figure. We've carefully limited our cast of characters in a way that doesn't damage the story, but keeps the number of required voice artists within a sensible range.
Kickstarter Fee (£6,000.00)
Kickstarter takes 5% of total funds raised. We don't include VAT in the above figure because it can be reclaimed from HMRC.
Kickstarter Payment Processing Fee (£4,800.00)#
Kickstarter takes a further 3% + £0.20 for each pledge received. We need approximately 6,000 backers to be successful given our reward structure and used this estimate to calculate the above figure.
Reward Fulfilment (£4,800.00)
If we receive pledges for all of the physical rewards available then this is the total amount we'll need to fulfil them all. Any funds left over will go into the safety buffer.
Anybody who's worked on a big project for an extended period of time will know that you can't predict every eventuality and that it's foolhardy to assume otherwise. This small buffer, along with the flexibility in the VAT budget and reward fulfilment budget means that we have the capacity in our budget to tackle problems head on and still deliver on time.
We've been working hard over the past year and a bit to produce a story that is unique, compelling and respects the player's time with an all killer, no filler approach.
We've also spent a lot of time over the past year putting together all of the tools that allow us to construct the environments, animations, conversations, characters, items, abilities and battles for Gravia and we've already implemented the foundation combat system and an AI that challenges the player and rewards careful assessment and good judgement.
We did all of this in our free time, outside of our 9-5 day jobs.
We're now ready to go into a phase of pure content creation. This is where we use the tools and documentation we've built over the past year to create the game itself. The towns, the conversations, the battles, the monsters, the abilities, the items, the cutscenes and the characters that you'll be experiencing whenever you play Gravia Tactics!
That's why we need your help.
To produce the content required for Gravia in our free time would take us a very long time and a budget that we do not have. With your support we can work on Gravia full time (and then some)! We can commission voice actors to breathe life into our characters, musicians to do the same for the game world, a foley artist for meaty, crisp sound effects (tasty!) and animators to produce the Anime cutscenes. To put it simply...
The Gravia Tactics that we dream of creating cannot happen without your support!
Help us make this dream game a reality by pledging as much as you can and bagging yourself some seriously cool goodies in the process!
Risks and challenges
The two largest risks for a project of this size are, unsurprisingly, time and money. Either we could take longer to finish the game than expected or, worse, run out of money before we can finish it.
We've taken many precautions to avoid running into either of these challenges. We've detailed every resource, feature and aim of the project. We've assigned each of these elements a realistic time it would take us to complete them and, If an element has an associated cost, then we've assigned a budget for it.
We took these budgets and time-scales, added a small buffer, and used them to produce as accurate an overall development cost estimate as possible.
We took these steps in order to be absolutely sure that if we meet or exceed our funding goal then we can deliver on our promise of bringing you a compelling, challenging and fun Tactical RPG.
We're also available to answer any specific questions or concerns you may have, so if you're left with any doubt then please get in touch!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)